Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Palo Verde Jungle Boat Tour

People travel to Costa Rica to do some adventure traveling. It's famous for its lush rain forest and its surfer-friendly beaches.

So while we were here for 6 nights, we decided to spend one morning doing an excursion with my full family, the Palo Verde National Park.

There are several ways to enjoy the park, but we opted to pay a premium and have it handled completely by a tour company.

For $95/adult, we were given : (A) transportation to/from the tour in a private van, (B) 1 hour boat tour and (C) lunch at a traditional restaurant. To be fair, I'm 100% sure you could find a much better deal with other companies. However, we didn't spend enough time researching in advance so booked quickly with a company we felt comfortable with.

Spoiler alert: Palo Verde was fine, but probably not worth the money and wouldn't recommend it. Sure, it was nice to see a rural part of the country and see wildlife in their natural habitat. But we had a similar boat tour a few weeks ago in the Florida Everglades, and this tour wasn't that different.

Nevertheless, we did enjoy our tour. We were picked up from the Andaz at 7:30AM, then driven to the Boat Tour by around 9:00AM.

The boats hold about 15 people, so we were joined by a few other small groups on our boat.

One of the better English speaking tour guides led the boat tour narration, highlighting the environmental context and pointing out the different species of wildlife we encountered.  That made my mother happy as she had some difficulty understanding English spoken with heavy accents.

Also the boat was covered, but being so early in the morning, the sun was still able to hit passengers on one side of the boat, so definitely bring your sunscreen or even something to cover your bare arms.

Right away, we saw our first major animal sighting, the Costa Rican crocodile. It was laying along the shady mud bank along the side of the river.

We also saw a few different species of interesting birds.

And long nosed bats that would sleep along a tree in a group pattern to resemble a snake and ward off potential predators.

There were, of course, dozens of iguanas lurking in the tree branches as well. We interrupted this couple (the colorful one was a male and the green one was a female).

But my personal favorite animals (being a 4 year old toddler) were the adorable white faced monkeys we saw towards the end of the trip. There were about 6 of them together. They were so friendly and came right up to our boat. One even jumped on the roof which I thought was hilarious.

After the boat tour, we drove to a traditional restaurant on the way home where we had a Costa Rican lunch. The open air restaurant was part of the boat tour package. Definitely touristy, but I don't mind, because it gives enough flavor of local culture but with the proper safeguards (i.e., purified water) that make my parents sleep better at night.

We enjoyed a nice refreshing pitcher of pear juice.

And started with a simple house salad.

We had the choice of beef, chicken or fish. We all chose the fish. It was fresh and delicious and looked a lot better than the beef we saw others have.

Paired with some rice and beans, and you had yourself a traditional Costa Rican meal called casado.

While we didn't think it was worth the $95/adult price tag, I did have a good time. If it were priced closer to $45/adult, I think that would be worth it.

And now, a surprise selfie.

No comments:

Post a Comment